How has Garry Monk transformed Leeds United?
Leeds United along with Newcastle United are the two biggest clubs outside of the Premier League. When Leeds were relegated from the Premier League in 2003-4, it was deemed to be just a small blip and that they would immediately bounce back. The reality was much worse. In 2007, they were relegated to the third tier of English football and the dark days at Elland Road were getting darker.
They ultimately battled their way back into promotion contention and were promoted back to the Championship in 2010. After several seasons struggling to survive, they brought in Garry Monk in June 2016 and the effect has been remarkable. Leeds are currently fighting for the play-offs and are favourites to reach them who have the latest Championship odds on show.
So What has Garry Monk Done?
Garry Monk cut his teeth at Swansea City when it came to big time football management. He was a surprise candidate for such a big job but his follow on success made him a candidate for numerous managerial jobs. The fact is that no manager can do what Monk has done without bonding with the players. He understands them and knows what their strengths and weaknesses are.
To his credit, he has identified what is required to do well in the Championship. He has his players playing to a system and they understand their roles to a man. This wasn’t present under their previous manager and the team lacked direction and purpose.
Kyle Bartley has been a key figure for Garry Monk as he worked with him at Swansea. Leeds took a big knock when they lost to Sutton United in the FA Cup. However it was clear during that game that Garry Monk was thinking more about promotion from the Championship based on his team selection that day.
A Big Transfer that Made the Difference
Garry Monk was active in the transfer market last summer and he needed to be. He knew how thin the squad was and set out to correct that. Any manager lives and dies by the quality of their signings. Hadi Sacko has done well since his loan move across from Sporting Lisbon. The extra width that Sacko gives to the Leeds formation, along with his pace, clearly adds a new dimension to their attacking options.
The key to success though has been in the system that Monk has employed. He demands hard work, especially from his strikers. It is unlikely that Leeds will surpass Newcastle and Brighton for automatic promotion but we can expect them to make the top six. Doing that will give them a real chance to get back to where they believe they ultimately belong.
Carl Sampson is a full time poker player, coach and sports writer. He has been a poker ambassador for several large poker sites and currently writes for Bluff Europe and Poker Player magazines.